JOHOR BARU, Aug 9 — The Johor youth chamber Dewan Muda Johor (DMJ) today alleged that Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad is practising “double standards” when it came to Lynas Corp, compared to the Forest City project.
Its member Darren Lai Chai En said the prime minister has in the past opposed the China-linked Forest City, as if it does not benefit the country at all.
“But now it does not think Lynas can be stopped because the country is at risk of losing foreign investors,” Lai said in a statement.
“If in the Lynas issue, Dr Mahathir is worried about attracting investors if is closed, then in the Forest City project he should take the same approach to provide similar co-operation to keep the project going and to generate income in boosting the country’s economy.
“Otherwise, it will give a bad perception to foreign investors, especially those from China, about the Malaysian government’s attitude towards treating Chinese businessmen coming to Malaysia,” he added.
He said this in response to news reports yesterday where Dr Mahathir was reported to have said Malaysia cannot force Lynas to leave Malaysia after having invited the Australian rare earth minerals mining company to invest in the country, just because some people do not want to accept the expert studies.
Lai stressed that the Forest City project’s return could reach more than RM400 billion compared to Lynas and create more jobs.
“Most importantly, when compared to the economic rate of return between Lynas and Forest City, the investment return for the latter is much higher at RM410 billion compared with Lynas at only RM1billion.
“In terms of job opportunities, Forest City also tops Lynas by offering more job opportunities for locals,” said Lai, adding that Dr Mahathir should be consistent with foreign and domestic investment policies and not practice double-standards, especially when it comes to issues related to Johor.
Yesterday Dr Mahathir said the government could not “drive away” Lynas after inviting the Australian company to invest in the country.
He said Lynas had invested more than RM1 billion on its operations in Malaysia, but the processing of the rare earth minerals is said to produce radioactive waste.
Dr Mahathir said expert studies indicate that it is “a very low-level” radioactive waste and not hazardous to health, adding he believes there is a way to further reduce the low-level radioactivity.